Old police station: Now what? … New art gallery … Aquarion hike OK'd … General Store for sale … Tax rate set … Sci-tech teacher honored … Pilot belly lands, is A-OK
Staff of Rye Reflections
What to do with the old Rye police station? A variety of obstacles have handcuffed the Rye Board of Selectmen as they grapple with that issue.
It's a prime location, diagonally across from Town Hall on Central Road, but too narrow to be build-able. The building is in bad condition, has mold and a broken-down boiler. The land it sits on is probably contaminated from who knows what when it was an old trolley "barn". Some believe oil was drained into the ground below the building years ago. "I think it should be razed," said Priscilla Jenness, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen at the Nov. 16 meeting.
Private interests have approached the Town about purchasing the property for mixed use, possibly as small retail outlets and office space, but the Selectmen are reluctant to give up public land.
Earlier suggestions for its use as a Senior Center or Recreation Department space have failed to get far, because of the cost of renovation and lack of parking.
"I'm not in favor of selling it. Lease? Yes," Jenness said. At one point Rye Water wanted to lease the building, and the proposal went so far as to get approved by Rye voters, but the arrangement didn't pan out. So the building has sat vacant for three years, following the police department's move into the new Public Safety Building.
"Why don't we seek out community members to recommend what to do with it," said Selectman Joe Mills.
And so serious consideration is underway with no easy solution on the horizon.
House in Damariscotta, Maine.
Peg Duffin, a Hampton resident, recently opened an Art Gallery on High Street in Hampton. A licensed counselor, Duffin's avocation is art, especially working with watercolors, getting her inspiration from nature: the ocean, flowers along the coast, scenes in New England.
Peg says she finds painting to be "meditative...like painting the soul with love, being at one with color and brush."
Fish house and pier. (Judy Palm photos)
- The Town of Rye has set its 2009 tax rate at $9.82, a 20-cent increase. Those who live in the Rye Beach District will be taxed at a rate of $10.04 per $1000 of assessed valuation; those in the Jenness Beach District $10 even and those in the Water District $10.30. The tax rate breakdown showed a .13-cent increase for the overall town budget, .01 for schools, .07 for state education costs and a decrease of .01 for the county. According to Assessor Howard Promer, Rye's tax is among the lowest 10 percent of communities in the state.
- The deadline for bids from contractors to build the 22 senior housing units at the old Rye Airfield site is Dec. 7. The Housing Partnership, which is developing Rye's first Retirement Community Development and will manage it, is hoping for a December groundbreaking.
- The Aquarion Water Company, which supplies parts of Rye, has been granted a 17.7% rate increase. Some of that hike had already been imposed, so the long and short of it, according to Vice President Harry Hibbard, that it costs the average household $16 to $18 more per quarter.
- The Rye General Store, at 2203 Ocean Boulevard, just south of Cable Road, is for sale or lease by WTG Real Estate, a year after having being renovated by Andy Widen, owner of Ray's Restaurant. Catering to beachgoers and an early-morning coffee bar clientele, the store still is known by some by its previous names, Philbrick's and Carberry's.
- A new Rosewood Mall shop, Sheva Jewelry Boutique, to the right of and behind Doyle's Cafe, on Route 1, is donating a portion of the proceeds from its 20-percent off sale held during an Open House on December 3 to www.BreastCancerStories.org. More information on its lines of
jewelry at Sheva's site: www.shevajewelry.com.
- Talk about bad timing. The furnace at the Department of Public Works main building on Grove Road was found to have a crack in it in November. Rye officials were looking at a variety of options, including replacement, with input from Anix LLC consultant Tim Nichols.
Little River Marsh (Ken Palm photo)
The Little River Salt Marsh between Little Boar's Head in North Hampton and the North Shore Road area in Hampton is scheduled for more restoration to improve tidal flow, resulting in several benefits to the public.
About 2000 feet of degraded portions of the salt marsh will be excavated at a cost of some $80,000 in a project involving the N.H. Coastal Program at the Department of Environmental Services, the Rockingham County Conservation District, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the Town of North Hampton.
Nine years ago two new culverts built under Route 1-A improved tidal flow. This second step is expected to reduce standing water where mosquitoes breed and attract fish, such as mummichogs and sticklebacks which "feast on mosquito larvae," according to DES. Another benefit will be control of common reed, an invasive reed, according to an ecology for the conservation district, through the growing of cord grass and salt marsh hay.